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Defining Universal Waste

Defining Universal Waste

There are four main waste streams that can be classified as “universal waste,” and we’ll be going over each one.

Something that can be confusing when managing waste is classifying, which type of waste you’re handling. The type of waste in question will influence how it needs to be addressed. Among the different types of waste, universal waste is one of the more confusing ones to understand. The word “universal” leaves a lot to the imagination because it’s a fairly general term. But to break it down, these wastes are types of hazardous waste that get disposed of by both homes and businesses into the solid waste stream. There are four main waste streams that can be classified as “universal waste,” and we’ll be going over each one.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines batteries as devices that consist of at least one electrically-connected electrochemical cell that is meant to deliver, store, and take electric energy.

Electrochemical cells are systems that have one cathode, one anode, and one electrolyte, and they will also have multiple connections that let them either deliver and take in energy. Battery is also a term that includes any intact batteries that have electrolytes removed from them.


Pesticides are a type of universal waste designed to repel, prevent, destroy, and mitigate pests. They are also used as regulators, desiccants, and defoliants for plants.

Mercury-Containing Equipment

When we talk about mercury-containing equipment as a type of universal waste, we’re talking about either entire devices or pieces of said devices that have mercury in them, and this mercury has to be vital to the function of the device itself. Some items that fall under this category include lamps, batteries, and thermostats.

Lamp Bulbs

These devices are the types of bulbs in which the lamp serves as the bulb. Lamps are built for putting out energy, usually in the form of either visible, infra-red, or ultraviolet energy.

There are many types of electric lamps. Among these various lamps include fluorescent, neon, mercury vapor, metal halide, and high-intensity discharge lamps.

About the Federal Universal Waste Program

The Federal Universal waste Disposal Program was created with the intention of encouraging people to recycle more often, and to promote people to dispose of universal waste in a proper manner, abiding by all of the necessary Federal guidelines.

Universal waste usually gets held to standards that aren’t quite as stringent with regards to storage, transport, and handling. However, the full hazardous waste requirements are still in effect in the last treating, recycling, and disposing of these types of universal waste.

The specifics of the UWR requirements can depend on how much universal waste is generated and handled, meaning that generators are incentivized to look over the rule and get whatever information they need from the US EPA, as well as their state and local authorities.

Choose AEG Environmental as your Universal Waste Disposal Company

Our team can take care of whatever type of waste you need us to handle. You want to be as safe as you can when dealing with waste. If you have any universal waste you need us to handle, call us today and we’ll be able to help you!

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2020 at 1:38 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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